Eulogy–a short story

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You know, it should be difficult for me to write this, and with anyone else I think it would be a tasteless statement; still, I think it’s fine for me to say about Dominic. I think I was the best friend Dominic ever had. It’s still a tasteless statement, no matter if it’s about Dom or not, but I think you’ll agree that Dom’s one of those people you can say that about without sounding totally classless.

I wonder why that is? Not that I was his best friend, but that it doesn’t seem classless to say it. Could it be because nobody else wanted the title? Yes, I can say that; you didn’t want to be his best friend, did you? You liked good time Don, well enough, and no, I don’t doubt that you loved him, but you never wanted to be bothered when he was in one of his hard jags.

That’s when it was always just me and him, and the cops and orderlies, and the sedatives and straight-jackets. That’s when it was just me trying to talk him down from the high ledges, literally and figuratively, and him trying to convince me why it was all so pointless.

Being Dom’s best friend was kind of like living in witness protection or with a contract on your life; no, I never felt in danger, at least much so, but there was just always that feeling of dread, like something bad could happen at any time.

And phones. How many years have I lived life saying a small prayer every time my phone rang? I always knew that there was only a slim chance that he had reared the head of his ugly side and that the call was to inform me of that, to say things like “Something has happened” and “Can you come?’

Always just a small chance; still, every three years or so, I’d start getting more sure the call would come. Then it would; something had happened, and yes I could come.

I wish I felt as relieved now as I always thought I would.

And then the last time, just last week. The call came, telling me it was finally over, that he had finally succeeded at that thing he’d failed at so many times, and could I come to say “Yes, that is him.”

I knew they had called his mother first, and she had told them they should call me. Still, I asked them. “Why don’t you call his mother? I’m not even family.”

They told me what I knew they would.

So, I went. It was him.

I understood why his mother didn’t want to go. Having kids of my own now, I try to put myself in her position. Would I go if one of them had treated me the way Dom treated Elizabeth, if one of them did the things that he had done? You like to think you would, but I honestly can’t say that I would. Plus, there’s always the pain and sadness aspect to think about; no matter what Dom did or how he lived, he was still her child, so that wouldn’t make it any too pleasant of a thing.

So, I went and said what I had to say and made the necessary arrangements, not even bothering to ask if anyone else had volunteered to do so. And I wrote this eulogy, even though I knew there was no sense having a service; it’s not like anyone would have come. Just the same, it’s not like anyone is going to read this either.

Still, I can’t just let him go without saying something. Yes, no one hearing it is like the question begged about the tree falling in the forest when nobody is around to hear it. Does it make a sound? Dominic did; he made sounds. Not all of them were pleasant, but he made them just the same, and they proved that he was here, and he loved some of us some of the time.

That has to stand for something. I just can’t believe that a man can walk across this rock for 37 years and it be like he was never here, once he’s gone. If nothing else, this can stand as a testament to that, the fact that Dominic was here. If anyone asks who wrote it, you tell them that I did, and I should know; I was his best friend.

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